Prebiotics: The Key to a Healthy Digestive Tract for the Little One
Oleh: Morinaga Platinum
Parents certainly want the growth and development process of the Little One to be optimal. The growth and development process of the Little One should be supported with a healthy and strong body. Do you know that a healthy digestion is an important key factor for overall health?
Nutrition is one of the important factors for the growth and development of the Little One, and a healthy digestive tract is required so that nutritional absorption can be maximized. The presence of good bacteria (probiotics) in the intestines is proven to boost the health of the digestive tract. Good bacteria in the intestines can reduce the occurrence of diarrhea, colic, abdominal pain, constipation, intestinal inflammation, and other problems. In addition, the overall effect on the body is reducing the incidence of allergies and infectious diseases.
How to maintain and support the growth and activity of good bacteria in the intestines? This is simple. The growth of good bacteria in the intestines can be improved with substances known as prebiotics. Prebiotics are natural compounds in food that is unable to be digested in the intestines. At present, some prebiotics are already used as nutritional supplements, including lactulose, inulin, oligofructose, and galactooligosaccharides. Naturally, breast milk also contains prebiotics, so some formula milk products have also started to fortify prebiotics into their products.
Ideally, prebiotics can selectively increase the amount and activity of only the bacteria that are beneficial for health, which are bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Studies have shown that among several prebiotics available presently, lactulose is one of the prebiotics that can increase the activity of bifidobacteria the highest. This is stated based on the results of a study conducted in Guangzhou, China, in 2015.
In addition to increasing the amount of good bacteria, prebiotics also function to produce lactic acid that can be beneficial in the prevention of intestinal cancers. The effects of probiotics include bloated stomach, as a result of gas production due to the fermentation process.
In general, prebiotics that contain galactose (such as lactulose) is more effective compared to prebiotics that contain fructose (such as inulin) in increasing the number of good bacteria such as bifidobacteria. Not only that, prebiotics that contain galactose also increase the production of lactate and produces less gas.
So, where can prebiotics be obtained from? In the society, sources of prebiotics are generally understood to be from supplements. However, actually, prebiotics are also contained in various types of food, such as bananas, red onions, garlic, onion leaves, asparagus, soy, and wheat. Therefore, parents can also incorporate basic ingredients containing prebiotics in the menu, to maintain the digestive tract health of the Little One.